The NY Times reports on a randomized control trial of stretching. The punchline: “static stretching had proved to be a wash in terms of protecting against injury.”
But many people remain fiercely attached to their stretching routines. “It was really hard to recruit runners” who, used to stretching, would agree to be randomly assigned to the nonstretching group, said Alan Roth, a former board member of USA Track and Field and coordinator of the study.
Once they understood that they might be required to not stretch for three months, they declined to participate. It took the researchers more than two years to coax enough runners to join and complete the study, generating enough data for meaningful results.
That repetitive knocking sound you hear in the distance is me banging my head against the wall. So the results only apply to people who don’t find they need to stretch? I think we can safely throw generalizability out the window.
Deeper into the article:
One anomalous finding of the USA Track and Field study was that runners who were used to stretching and were assigned to the nonstretching group became injured at a disproportionately high rate.
Yes. An “anomolous” finding indeed. Ah, pesky facts; how you trouble medical science and journalism.
Who knows what the truth is? But if you want to win bets in life, predict the opposite of mediocre research. Five years from now, the headline will read: “Studies show stretching reduces injuries!”
You heard it here first, folks.